What to do? College or Travel?


So, I’m a senior in high school being flooded with emails and letters from various colleges around the country asking for me to spend my money there. It’s almost time for me to be an adult, to pick a job I want to do for the rest of my life, and be ‘happy’. Twenty, thirty, and maybe even forty years down the road I might be doing the same thing I am now – playing video games, hanging with friends, and going to work – on endless repeat! I don’t find that idea pleasing at all!

I’ve always been an adventurer at heart, and I love traveling. I’ve been all throughout the Caribbean with my family, and once or twice into Central/South America as well. Each journey was a new adventure, full of excitement and new experiences. I travel and try new things any chance I get, and I embrace challenges and the danger that accompanies them.

I’ve recently come across the idea that people can travel all throughout the world, for years on end, with little to no money, and have a blast doing it. Those people are living the dream, exploring the world, just like I think I would want to do. World-travel doesn’t cost much if you do it right, and it’s full of endless possibilities. And that brings me to my question…

Do I go to college and embrace the ‘normal’ life that everyone else lives, or follow my dreams and travel the world? Do the same thing over and over again, or spend my life on an exciting adventure? And I don’t mean travel for a week or a month, I mean a lifetime! I’m split down the middle between the decision, partly because I want so badly to explore the world, but I’m also, well, afraid. Afraid that I might be making the wrong choice, and doing something stupid. Can you guys help clear things up?

Tags: asked August 31, 2014

5 Answers

Travel. If I had done what I wanted when I was 18, I'd be embalming people right now, when it turned out, after a few years of travel, growth, working and learning, I realised that I'd rather help them enjoy their lives before that inevitable point. Although the point about social norms is true, and I certainly feel anxiety at the thought of being in school with much younger people, the reality is that university is for everyone, and you will meet people of all ages, all kinds no matter how old you are when you go back. The time to travel is when you're young. There are the responsibilities of mortgages, partners, children, aging parents, sick pets, most, if not all of which will eventually greet you. And while none of those things is a death knell to travel and adventure, there is no feeling quite like standing on the other side of the world and realizing that there is not a single reason why, if you love this place, you could not simply make it your home. I hope that helps, Bon voyage, and if you do decide to go, remember to buy travel insurance. You want to accrue experience, not steep debt to foreign hospitals. ;)
There are a lot of job options that include availability to travel and there are a ton of studying options that let you travel and study together. I say get the education while you can and while it's a social norm. Take the option to study abroad when it's available. Do teaching as an ESL teacher during the summer abroad. There is a way to have both in this world. Balance is key. Everyone gets into a rut sometimes - you've just got to be ready to break free of it when it happens.
First of all, I believe you must always follow your passion. If traveling your whole life is what you want to do, then do it. This is your life and you must decide what makes you happy.

Next, you can always go to college and then decide to travel. Or, travel and then decide you want to go to college. Point is, when you are young and single, you have options.

Last, once you get married and have children, you sacrifice your life and give it up for your family. At this point, it becomes very difficult to take off and travel the world.

So, if you are going to travel, do it while it is still an option.

Hope this helps!
Travel! Too lazy to get into detail but a teacher of mine who left a great impression on me had reminded me one thing: travel. It's an amazing experience you may never get to experience the same way when you're older. I'm so glad I have. It's honestly the best feeling in the world. Besides it will only take a couple years then you can go off to 4 years of school.
I'm having the same problem, only I'm about to get out of college. I had this fear that once I get that job, then I would get too comfortable and never try to travel the world like I want to. But I know myself and I know that I will want to spend my salary on traveling. I didn't get a chance to travel during college, but I definitely don't regret building up my resume and being able to get out of college with jobs lined up for me.

When people think of traveling, sometimes they think you need a leave in huge chunks of time in order to enjoy it, but you can always use a few vacation days to go visit a different country. A week in China one month, and then maybe a week going to like France and Belgium (neighboring countries). Traveling gets expensive, especially without a steady income. I'm a business major, and I chose that major in particular because it would give me opportunities to work in other countries. Plus, if I do a good job in other countries, my expenses can get paid by the company.

Also consider that if you put off college for too long, it will get harder for you to keep up just because you're not as young, especially if you didn't build the study habits early on. And let's say you want to start having a steady job to be able to fund all your trips, think about who companies will pick as you get older. Will they pick the person who is younger and is up to date with all the latest trends and skills or will they pick the older person who is just starting to learn all these skills? Not saying you won't pick up certain skills, but if you're busy trying to fund trips, it might slip your mind to pay attention to certain trends and all of that.

It's possible to have both. Honestly, if you like to teach, that can be the best gateway for you to travel and make money. I really admire my economics professor. He has literally taught in over 40 countries. He's also a really sought out economist too.

I had friends that took a year off of school to live in a different country. They were able to get jobs in the country they lived in, but they said that it really drained their accounts, especially as students. And they said that having their parents help pay for things helped, but I'm sure you don't want to rely on your parents.

Not trying to sound pessimistic. Just hope you think about it thoroughly and realistically lol.